Closer In Waiting Power Rankings: June 7, 2017: Two New Names Join The Top 5

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Are you someone constantly on the lookout for the next potential closer? That’s what we are trying to pinpoint here, with our Top 5 Closer In Waiting Power Rankings. These rankings look at the pitchers who appear capable of taking over their team’s respective closing duties (though in some cases, will need some help to get there). Keep in mind, if a pitcher is currently part of a committee they will not be included in these rankings despite not currently “holding” the job outright.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at how things stand:

Current Closer
1.Felipe Rivero (1)Pittsburgh PiratesTony WatsonWatson blew his fourth save of the season on Wednesday, and now has three blown saves in his past six appearances. He’s been walking a tight rope all season long (1.50 WHIP, as he’s allowed 30 H and 8 BB over 25.1 IP), but he's been falling off it of late. For his part Rivero has been among the elite relievers in the game (0.60 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 32 K over 30.0 IP) and deserves an opportunity. This latest implosion from Watson should be the impetus for a change, and if it isn’t the leash is certainly as short as it can possibly be.
2.Pat Neshek (NR)Philadelphia PhilliesHector NerisAfter giving up 2 H on Wednesday Neris was removed from a save opportunity and replaced by Neshek. It is definitely fair to wonder if Neris is equipped to handle closing duties, or if he's better suited for setting things up. With two poor outings in his past three, it's feasible that the Phillies opt to take him out of the role, at least for the short-term (similar to what the Mariners did with Edwin Diaz earlier in the year), and try to get him right.
3.Brad Hand (2)San Diego PadresBrandon MaurerHand appeared to have the job, getting saves on back-to-back days, but has inexplicably been returned to a setup role. It doesn't make sense, and while Maurer has gotten job done since returning to the role does anyone believe? The biggest stumbling block for Hand remains the potential of a trade, as there's little reason to think that he won't return to the role before long if he remains in San Diego.
4.Keone Kela (NR)Texas RangersMatt BushOver his last two outings Bush has allowed 4 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, yielding 3 HR in the process. Those are numbers that simply can't be ignored, even though he still owns a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP on the season. You have to wonder if Kela had been in the Majors at the time that Sam Dyson ceded the role, if he would've gotten the first opportunity? It may only take one more poor performance from Bush for a change to be made, and Kela could finally get his opportunity at the role.
5.Joakim Soria (3)Kansas City RoyalsKelvin HerreraIt's possible that Mike Minor thrusts his name into the discussion, but chances are if Herrera is removed from the role (in an Edwin Diaz-like short-term demotion) it's Soria who gets the opportunity. It makes sense, especially after Herrera's most recent struggle and the home run issues he's had this season (6 HR). The Royals need him to pitch well, if for nothing besides his tradaebility, so even if he is bumped from the role he should return in short order.


  • None

Dropped Off Rankings:

  • Alex Wilson – Detroit Tigers (4) – This isn’t to say that Justin Wilson is safe, there are just better stashes around the league due to other struggles. Keep Alex Wilson on your radar, however, as he should return to the rankings before long.
  • Ryan Madson – Oakland A’s (5) – Santiago Casilla is currently doing the job and Sean Doolittle is close ro returning from the DL. In other words, the chances of Madson getting an opportunity to close appear to be shrinking

Committees Not Currently Included:

  • None

Others We’re Monitoring:

  • Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Will Harris – Houston Astros
  • Tommy Kahnle – Chicago White Sox
  • Shawn Kelley – Washington Nationals
  • Darren O’Day – Baltimore Orioles
  • David Phelps – Miami Marlins
  • Taylor Rogers – Minnesota Twins
  • Trevor Rosenthal – St. Louis Cardinals
  • Drew Storen – Cincinnati Reds
  • Arodys Vizcaino – Atlanta Braves

Injured Setup Men To Monitor:

  • Jake Barrett – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Carter Capps – San Diego Padres
  • Sean Doolittle – Oakland A’s

Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:

CatcherApril 25
First BaseApril 26
Second BaseMay 1
Third BaseMay 4
ShortstopMay 8
Starting Pitcher--
Relief Pitcher--


  1. Braden says:

    hand, Neshek or Doolittle ROS

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